The Church

After 25 years and nearly as many albums, these Aussies remain largely and sadly underappreciated, though on the radio playing in Thom Yorke's head they're top of the pops. For many, 1988 single "Under the Milky Way" remains the main reference. At their best on album and stage, the Church are like a narcotic with hallucinogenic side effects; the swirling guitars of Marty Wilson-Piper and Peter Koppes and singer Steve Kilbey's impressionistic lyrics take on a hypnotic and even transformational quality. In recent years, the group's maturity has found them on their steadiest roll, with this year's Uninvited, Like The Clouds living up to their stature as the split difference between XTC and Echo & the Bunnymen. This acoustic tour finds them drawing back to the unplugged mode of their previous CD, El Momento Descuidado. Though it may be hard to imagine the Church without E-bows vibrating the electric six-strings, the unadorned mode could well have the gently revelatory ambiance of a mild 'shroom buzz.
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Rob Patterson